Sarah Babbage

Sarah Babbage is a TAP Fall 2010 intern.

Recent Articles

The Military-Sexual Complex.

Anecdotal evidence suggests sexual assault rates in the military are high, with as many as one in three women being sexually assaulted during their service. Neither the Department of Defense nor Veterans Affairs releases data on reported cases, though, so the exact extent of the problem is unknown. Now, frustrated by rejected Freedom of Information Act requests, the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed a lawsuit in federal district court demanding the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs release the data and disclose what they’re doing to treat victims and prevent future abuse. Military Sexual Trauma (MST), which includes rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, is devastating to victims. Many women who experience MST leave the military and experience post-traumatic stress disorder, but are denied treatment or support from the VA because they can’t prove they were abused. They are more likely to...

The Smart-Power Push

TAP talks to a foreign-policy expert on how the United States is using smart power.

(White House/Pete Souza)
"Smart power" -- the combination of military and diplomatic power abroad -- has become a popular buzzword in foreign-policy circles over the past decade. As David Axe chronicled in the December issue of TAP , it's a strategy the U.S. is using in Congo to curb sexual violence. But what does the term really entail, and is it something the administration is using effectively? TAP talked to Richard Parker from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition to find out. How do we define smart power? Do proponents, institutions, or countries define it differently, or is there an agreed-upon definition? There is thematic agreement around what smart power is, and that is using our military and a broad range of national-security tools to accomplish our foreign-policy goals. The simple way to look at it is what we call the three D's -- development, diplomacy and defense -- and using all three of those together as our foreign-policy tools. It is important to keeping our nation safe, contributing to our...

Lightning Round: The Best Government is the Least Caring.

Citizens for the Republic has produced a cleverly titled ad called " Mourning in America " that laments the sad state of affairs in the country under Obama . Its appeal to emotion is a little too much for conservatives, though. Daniel Larison warns that its promise that a Republican government would be "smaller and more caring" is misleading, because good governments, in his world, should never care about their citizens. Because "it could've been worse" isn't the best campaign strategy, DCCC chair Chris van Hollen is calling on Democrats to talk about the local effects the stimulus funds have had and how communities will be hurt if they're cut. Or, in other words, brag for once. Disturbing news for attendees of last week's Values Voters Summit. Congressional Republicans may not want "don't ask, don't tell" repealed, but that won't stop other Republicans from turning out to support the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group behind the Prop. 8 federal challenge. Ken Melhman is...

Lightning Round: "Getting By" By the Swimming Pool.

To those with incomes above $250,000 who claim they can't afford a tax hike because they are "just getting by," Annie Lowrey offers a rebuttal: you may not feel rich, but you probably have the fixed costs of a wealthy person. Plus, the higher tax rate only applies to income beyond the $250,000 threshold, so if you make $250 001, you will only be paying three cents more in income tax. If only we could only all "get by" so well. After the White House said it would not focus on tying the GOP to the Tea Party during the midterm elections, Robert Erikson laments that the Democrats aren't getting more aggressive at a time when Republicans are in the same hot water. "If the Democrats offer only silence, voters will conclude that they have nothing worthwhile to say, that they implicitly confess to failure, and that it must be time for the other team to run things for a while," he writes. As a rule, I wouldn't encourage speaking for the sake of it; as the adage goes, it's better to keep mum...

Lightning Round: Prejudice is Expensive.

Matt Yglesias wades into the ongoing Martin Peretz imbroglio, criticizing plans by Harvard to honor the controversial New Republic editor despite his recent comments on the "cheapness" of Muslim life. According to Yglesias, Harvard is only going ahead with the honoring because it wants the more than half million dollars that has already been raised to create a research fund in Peretz's name. Apparently, prejudice doesn't come cheap. Rep. Walt Minnick of Idaho wants in on the craziness that has overtaken the Republican Party, or at least that's what you would think from his latest video. In it, the Blue Dog Democrat attacks his Latino Republican opponent, Raul Labrador , for being a lawyer who works with illegal immigrants. "What does Raul think of our broken immigration system?" the ad asks. A sound clip of Raul then responds, "Now I like it because I make a good living because of it." Too bad they didn't include the first part of the clip, where Labrador denounces illegal immigration...

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